Roshni - Asian Women's Reseource Centre
 
         
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Roshni Sheffield : Advocacy Project>

Roshni has been providing an advocacy service since it opened its doors in 1992, and advocacy remains a core service. Through the advocacy project women are offered practical and emotional support by bi-lingual staff, who are fluent in English, Urdu, Punjabi and Bengali. The current advocacy project has 2 half-time project coordinators who job-share for a full-time position, 3 part-time bi-lingual advocacy workers, as well as a number of volunteer advocacy workers.

What is advocacy support?
We are supporting women from a South Asian background who are not able to access their rights due to various barriers including lack of adequate language skills in English, lack of education, lack of confidence, lack of information and due to oppression and abuse. The support we provide includes giving information, acting on clients’ behalf through making phone calls, writing letters and emails, accompanying to and  representing clients’ interests at meetings, explaining clients’ letters to them and providing emotional support by offering understanding and empathy. The issues brought to us cover a broad spectrum, relating to benefits, housing, debt, immigration, domestic violence, utilities, health, education and others. We tend to provide information about rights and services but where in depth advice is needed we will refer on to specialist advice workers or legal professionals, continuing to support the client to access these further services. We adhere to a ‘Code of Practice for Advocates’, developed by Action For Advocacy: www.actionforadvocacy.org.uk/articleServlet?action=list&articletype=23

A holistic service
Our ultimate aim is for women to become independent and self-reliant. Therefore, we provide all the emotional and practical support to the women in the beginning, but once the crisis is over, we encourage our clients to take up various other opportunities at Roshni and outside of Roshni, such as joining Roshni ESOL classes, joining the Roshni job club, getting involved with Meri Sehet (Roshni Health and Fitness programme) and referrals to the community health champions to provide one to one sessions on health topics. We are fortunate that at Roshni we are able to offer a range of services to meet our clients’ needs in this way.

More about our clients
In 2012 we supported 271 women including 109 new clients who came to us over the year. Over 80% of our clients are from a Pakistani origin, the rest of them are from Indian or Bengali background. The women we support are often isolated and hard to reach due to multiple barriers. Many of the women have come to the UK on spouse visas from rural backgrounds, lacking literacy skills even in their mother tongue - a third of our clients (28%) are not literate in their own mother tongue and 63% of our clients speak no or very little English. However, 20% of our clients are fluent in English, including some highly educated women who have lost confidence due to life situations.

About a quarter of our clients (23%) are referred from other organisations e.g. social services, police, GP and so on whilst three quarters of the clients come to us through word of mouth which speaks for our good reputation in the community. We are a city wide service but due to transport issues we find that the majority of our clients are from the immediate neighbourhood including Sharrow, Nether Edge, Heeley and Highfield. To increase accessibility we are constantly searching for funding to employ outreach workers who can go out to community venues in the city especially Darnall, Tinsley, Firvale and Firth Park, where there is most need for our service. At present we offer home visits to the most vulnerable women who are unable to travel to the Roshni Centre.

Please note that all of the above information was received from client profiles of the 109 new clients who came to Roshni from Sep 2011 to Sep 2012.

How to access our service
You can phone us and ask to speak to an advocacy worker or arrange an appointment. We also run a regular drop in every Wed from 9.30am to 12.30pm where no prior appointment is necessary.

Coffee mornings
Please get in touch for further details.

How to get involved
We are actively looking for volunteer advocates to join the project. Please see our page about Volunteering for further information.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Purple Jagged Edge
  Tel : 0114 250 8898
e: admin@roshnisheffield.org.uk
444 London Road, Sheffield S2 4HP
 
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